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Why MIMs can help move America forward

Adam Newman | Monday, November 22, 2010

It’s hard to believe how anyone could’ve ever predicted President Obama’s term in office as a “post partisan” era. If anything, President Obama’s term seems to be the beginning of an era in American politics with exceptionally high levels of partisanship. This new partisanship has perpetuated an old Washington problem: disinterest in comprehensive reforms. This has hurt America’s ability as a country to move forward, because solutions to issues such as rising healthcare costs, climate change, a broken immigration and education system and an increasing national debt are almost never implemented or even legislated. It seems like America has lost its ability to solve its most pressing problems.

I believe that this partisanship can be mitigated and America’s problems solved by politicians I call “MIMs.” MIM is an acronym for moderates, independents and mavericks. Each is different respectively, but all can play a role in decreasing the bitter partisanship between political parties, allowing America to move forward.

The first ‘M’ in “MIM” stands for moderate. Moderates are rare in politics because extremes are more active in election primaries than moderates, leading to the nomination and usually election of extreme candidates. This dynamic allowed for the Tea Partier Christine O’Donnell to win over moderate Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Primary.

Moderate Republicans and Democrats are significant because they’re more likely than extremes to improve their party’s legislation to attract votes from the other party, propose bi-partisan legislation and vote for initiatives offered by the other party. Moderate Republicans have already helped President Obama by voting for the stimulus and financial reform. If Obama is to successfully legislate his agenda to solve America’s most pressing problems, he will need to win the support of moderates from both parties.

The next part of the MIM is the Independent. Independents in politics are rarer than moderates, but are valuable because they have the freedom to create their own agenda instead of basing it on the wishes of party bosses. The best example of an independent politician is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While many politicians avoid talking about long-term problems, Michael Bloomberg will speak both openly and accurately about them.

As more people lose faith in both political parties to offer real solutions, an independent Bloomberg running for president in 2012 could occur. Bloomberg could enter the race as a fresh alternative to President Obama and the Republican nominee, and could run on hot button issues such immigration and education reform. While Bloomberg has almost no chance of winning, he could propel these issues into the public sphere whereupon the new President will more likely act on them, similar to how independent Ross Perot campaigned on deficit reduction in 1992.

The final part of the MIM is the “maverick,” a political figure who shows independence from their party on certain issues. The most notable maverick in Washington is currently Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Even though Graham is a conservative, he has shown independence from the Republican Party by voting for both of Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, helping to write the failed climate change bill with Democratic Sen. John Kerry and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and working on immigration reform with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. Graham has also shown independence from the Republicans not only by not engaging in the “name calling” that Republican leaders have used the past two years, but also for his civility. He told Elena Kagan at her nomination: “There is no doubt in my mind that you are a liberal person, that applies as are most of the people [Democratic senators] on the other side, and I respect them, and I respect you.” Lindsay Graham’s actions and civility have made him a Tea Party target, but this has not stopped him from continuing his independence from the Republican Party.

America would be a better place if more MIMs were elected into office. Republicans should have realized that moderate Mike Castle would have been a more electable and a better senator than Christine O’Donnell. An independent presidential candidacy waged by Michael Bloomberg in 2012 could pressure the president in 2012 to take up the hot button issues that Bloomberg campaigned on. Finally, Democrats in South Carolina should prepare to re-elect Lindsay Graham in 2014. He will have a tough re-election primary because of his independence from the Republican Party. Democrats should realize this and vote to make sure that the Republican maverick, and ultimately a good man, is re-elected.

America needs nothing less than a MIM revolution to propel both Democratic and Republican MIMs into the political arena to solve America’s most pressing problems. For America’s best days to be ahead of us, our worst political day must be behind us. Let’s hope Americans realize this and start voting for MIMs in greater numbers before it’s too late.


Adam Newman is a sophomore majoring in business. He can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.